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Prayers Plainly Spoken

ISBN: 9781592441372

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“If anything, these prayers are plain. They are so because I discovered I could not pray differently than I speak. In other words, I thought it would be a mistake to try to assume a different identity when I prayed. I figured . . . that God could take it, because God did not need to be protected. I think I learned this over the years by praying the Psalms in church. God does not want us to come to the altar different from how we live the rest of our lives. Therefore, I do not try to be pious or use pious language in these prayers. I try to speak plainly, yet I hope with some eloquence, since nothing is more eloquent than simplicity.”

So writes Stanley Hauerwas in the introduction to this collection of prayers that are as inimitable as the widely respected theologian himself. Originally prayed in Hauerwas’ divinity school classroom—on a variety of occasions including war, births, Yom Kippur, and the death of a beloved cat—they not only display an invigorating faith but demonstrate how late-modern Christians can pray with all the passion, turbulence, and life of the ancient psalmists.

Get this title for the best price as part of the Select Works of Stanley Hauerwas (6 vols.).

Key Features

  • Offers a wide variety of simple—yet eloquent—prayers from the mind of an esteemed theologian
  • Utilizes plain language that will resonate with present-day Christians
  • Provides a unique take on what the Psalms would look like today


  • Beginnings
  • Living In Between
  • Endings

Top Highlights

“Modernity marks the time when theologians began to believe that their task is to explain the truth of what Christians believe in a manner that assumes the explanation is truer than the belief itself. Such theology is no longer the servant of the church but tries to be its master. That I have been critical of this theological project makes me no less subject to it, just to the extent that we too often become what we oppose.” (Page 15)

“False humility is no less false when feigned in the interest of being ‘just another Christian.’ I am ‘just another Christian,’ but I am also one who has been given certain responsibilities because of the gifts of time and learning the church has made available to me.” (Page 14)

“But the truth is, we want power and status because we so desperately need to be loved. Free us from our self-fascination and the anxious activity it breeds, so that we might be what we say we want to be—loved by you and thus capable of unselfish service. Amen.” (Page 49)

“Frightened, we are tempted to make a permanent home on the ark. But you force us to seek dry ground.” (Page 21)

“God does not want us to come to the altar different from how we live the rest of our lives” (Page 14)

About Stanley Hauerwas

Stanley Hauerwas is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. Prior to that, he was a professor at the University of Notre Dame. In 2001, he was named “America’s Best Theologian” by TIME Magazine. Hauerwas is the author of numerous books, including A Better Hope: Resources for a Church Confronting Capitalism, Democracy, and Postmodernity, With the Grain of the Universe: The Church’s Witness and Natural Theology, and A Cross-Shattered Church: Reclaiming the Theological Heart of Preaching.


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    Digital list price: $13.99
    Save $3.00 (21%)